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Intelligent Design
Posted: 19 March 2007 04:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”]Intelligent design is a buzz word that helps people feel better about believing in God. But it also hurts itself because it purports to be science. If you need an even more in depth explanation of how unscientific intelligent design is, I will attempt to go into detail about it.

[chuckling] ...I didn’t quote your entire response because it was so long, but if it wasn’t detailed, I’m not sure I could handle detailed. I agree with Occam’s Razor, yours was an unusually excellent appraisal. I also refuse to accept that such eloquence comes from an accident unworthy or incapable of eternal survival.

To me, a skeptic’s response is a truth-seeker’s response. Regarding distinguishing between natural and divine processes, I do not think one precludes the other. As to science “moving God out of the picture” as mysteries get solved, I see that more in an Edisonian light, understanding that every wrong answer eliminated brings us one step closer to God.

“Intelligent design” is like “love” in that it means many things to many people. All it means to me is an acknowledgment that there is an order in the universe which implies intelligence, and that purposeful evolution (beyond mindless gene reproduction) must remain as valid a theory as purposeless evolution. I believe religion is incapable of entering into the area of scientific proof, I’ve said before it is clear to me the domains are different. However, when science claims there is no God, it enters the domain of religion, thereby creating a need for “intelligent design” within the realm of science.

I understand science to be the domain of knowledge, philosophy the realm of wisdom, and religion the values of the faith experience; and that through enlightened philosophy the mind tries to unite the meanings of both facts and values, thereby arriving at a concept of complete reality. The discussion to me should not be over whether “God did it” or what predictions come to pass, but whether “God is.” I believe we are made to be loyal to persons, not things.

[quote author=“Occam’s Razor”]I disagree. I think many scientists see their work exactly as discovering the whys, the whences and whithers. To relegate cosmologists, biologists and the like to dull technicians grubbing after details whilst the priests and theologians discover ‘meaning’ reveals not only a fond over-estimation of the abilities of priests and theologians but also deep unfamiliarity with modern science.

The “whence, why and whither” of which I speak is not of the material world. Science does indeed address the whence, why and whither of material things, but has no explanation or jurisdiction for the before, why or after of life. To me, there is majesty inherent in the honest work of scientific discovery. It is not a lesser purpose, just a different purpose.

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Posted: 19 March 2007 06:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“andonstop”][quote author=“snapshot1”]Intelligent design is a buzz word that helps people feel better about believing in God. But it also hurts itself because it purports to be science. If you need an even more in depth explanation of how unscientific intelligent design is, I will attempt to go into detail about it.

[chuckling] ...I didn’t quote your entire response because it was so long, but if it wasn’t detailed, I’m not sure I could handle detailed. I agree with Occam’s Razor, yours was an unusually excellent appraisal. I also refuse to accept that such eloquence comes from an accident unworthy or incapable of eternal survival.

To me, a skeptic’s response is a truth-seeker’s response. Regarding distinguishing between natural and divine processes, I do not think one precludes the other. As to science “moving God out of the picture” as mysteries get solved, I see that more in an Edisonian light, understanding that every wrong answer eliminated brings us one step closer to God.

That is one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is through the lens of dogma, and seeing creation science being pummeled with facts and highly sophisticated (meaning showing no signs of reversal) theories from cosmology, geology, and biology. The way that you describe science, in that every wrong answer leads closer to God, I couldn’t agree more. If you’re talking about God as the mystery to which we are guide by our natural curiosity and willingness to explorer, then I’d be willing to say that I believe in God. But I’m not going to make any presuppositions about this mystery. I’m not going to say it created existence, or it is intelligent, or that postulating any such things would bring me to a better understanding of it.  It’s going to remain a mystery; the goal of science is solving the mystery.

“Intelligent design” is like “love” in that it means many things to many people. All it means to me is an acknowledgment that there is an order in the universe which implies intelligence, and that purposeful evolution (beyond mindless gene reproduction) must remain as valid a theory as purposeless evolution. I believe religion is incapable of entering into the area of scientific proof, I’ve said before it is clear to me the domains are different. However, when science claims there is no God, it enters the domain of religion, thereby creating a need for “intelligent design” within the realm of science.

Intelligent design, though mostly killed in the courts, was an attempt to get creationism taught in schools. It was definitely something that meant many different things to different people, but that’s because it was the furthest thing from a scientific theory. It wasn’t based on facts and evidence, but interpretations of the evidence and our perceptions of what appears to be design. Nothing about our Universe implies intelligence as much as we do, and more evidence is available to us to suggest that the human brain evolved to distinguish patterns which may cause a person to intuit intelligence when, in fact, the patterns are completely natural creations.

It was once thought that everything was intelligently designed, from the rocks to the trees, to the whole earth and sun. Now we understand the natural processes behind their creation. 500 years ago, we wouldn’t have a better explanation for any of these things, so Intelligent Design would have fit right in. In fact it did, it was called creationism and it was the leading theory of its day. But scientists have been through this over and over again, trying to explain to people that we often assume something is designed until we discover the process by which said something was created.

Ask yourself, if we never understood the concept of sea floor spreading, whereby new sea floor is created along a fault line in the Atlantic and and new earth pushes the ocean floor away from the fault line, pushing apart the America’s from Africa and Europe, how else could we possibly explain this massive movement of earth but through a deity? What else other than a deity to move continents? History tells us that this line of reasoning leads absolutely nowhere. It does not help to explain at all sea floor spreading, nor would it have contributed whatsoever to the discovery of the answer.

I understand science to be the domain of knowledge, philosophy the realm of wisdom, and religion the values of the faith experience; and that through enlightened philosophy the mind tries to unite the meanings of both facts and values, thereby arriving at a concept of complete reality. The discussion to me should not be over whether “God did it” or what predictions come to pass, but whether “God is.” I believe we are made to be loyal to persons, not things.

Must this question be answered for you before you die? Are you willing to wait for science to catch up with your curiosity and maybe teach you something along the way even if it means you die without knowing the true answer? Are you so afraid of dying without either knowledge of God or faith that you’re not willing to accept either?

I think our inability to accept the mystery comes from this feeling of necessity that we have to discover the truth before we die, as if our eternal souls depended on it. The actions of the religious would make sense if this were the case. They either can’t wait for an answer so they turn to religion just to be safe, or they want to speed up the process of discovery by immediately making an non-falsifiable hypothesis and declaring a theory about the nature of God. Either way, in my mind, skepticism is the only rational reaction to the question of God. We have to learn to love and accept the mysteries of the Universe, and we have to let go of the irrational dogmas must hinder our exploration by filling the unknown gaps with faith and wishful thinking instead hard work and education.

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Posted: 20 March 2007 11:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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The only way that intelligent design could ever make sense to me is in terms of the “intelligible cosmos” of the Middle Platonists.  This was posited as the realm of all possible patterns of order.  If we dress this up with an evolutionary driving force (which can be nothing other than natural selection) then we could say that given a current state of a system, there are certain other potential states existing in the intelligible cosmos to which the existing state may become attracted so that it will naturally move to them.  Of course, this completely eliminates the reason for endorsing intelligent design in the first place—it isn’t designed any more, just the result of a natural process.  The only difference from current evolutionary thinking is the idea of a future state exerting an attraction that draws a system towards it but that idea is not at all new in dynamical systems theory.

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Posted: 20 March 2007 02:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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[quote author=“burt”]The only way that intelligent design could ever make sense to me is in terms of the “intelligible cosmos” of the Middle Platonists.  This was posited as the realm of all possible patterns of order.  If we dress this up with an evolutionary driving force (which can be nothing other than natural selection) then we could say that given a current state of a system, there are certain other potential states existing in the intelligible cosmos to which the existing state may become attracted so that it will naturally move to them.  Of course, this completely eliminates the reason for endorsing intelligent design in the first place—it isn’t designed any more, just the result of a natural process.  The only difference from current evolutionary thinking is the idea of a future state exerting an attraction that draws a system towards it but that idea is not at all new in dynamical systems theory.

This sounds a lot like a posit of quantum mechanics, only possible patterns of order are found in lateral “dimensions.”

Is it similar?

Also, have you been to the website that attempts to describe how to see the 10th dimension? It’s a flash site that takes you threw how to imagine all the dimensions up to the 10th, if you haven’t seen it.

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Posted: 20 March 2007 05:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”][quote author=“burt”]The only way that intelligent design could ever make sense to me is in terms of the “intelligible cosmos” of the Middle Platonists.  This was posited as the realm of all possible patterns of order.  If we dress this up with an evolutionary driving force (which can be nothing other than natural selection) then we could say that given a current state of a system, there are certain other potential states existing in the intelligible cosmos to which the existing state may become attracted so that it will naturally move to them.  Of course, this completely eliminates the reason for endorsing intelligent design in the first place—it isn’t designed any more, just the result of a natural process.  The only difference from current evolutionary thinking is the idea of a future state exerting an attraction that draws a system towards it but that idea is not at all new in dynamical systems theory.

This sounds a lot like a posit of quantum mechanics, only possible patterns of order are found in lateral “dimensions.”

Is it similar?

Also, have you been to the website that attempts to describe how to see the 10th dimension? It’s a flash site that takes you threw how to imagine all the dimensions up to the 10th, if you haven’t seen it.

Not so much quantum mechanics or such but rather every dymanical system, quantum or classsical, can only manifest certain states.  If the system is chaotic, there can be a continual movement between states on a timescale related to the frequency of external perturbations.  The states themselves are “attractors” of the system, so when the system jumps from one state to another, the one it jumps to actually attracts the jump.  Another way to think of something similar is that an ecology produces certain niches that “attract” the species that fill them rather than the different species fighting it out in a survival of the fittest. 

Haven’t checked the website yet, but am interested in how to visualize 10 dimensions.  Thanks.

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Posted: 20 March 2007 09:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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http://www.tenthdimension.com/

If you want to, there it is.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Eloquent once again, snapshot1. “We have to learn to love and accept the mysteries of the Universe…” —beautiful. “We have to let go of the irrational dogmas that hinder our exploration…”—I agree completely. “...by filling the unknown gaps with faith and wishful thinking…”—to me reveals a lack of understanding and appreciation for the true nature of faith.

It seems you determine faith can only be based on fear, impatience or wishful thinking. I agree much of today’s “religion” is based on just that. But in my mind you have left out the two reasons which to me are altogether logical: love and trust.

Love is a fact. Trust is a fact. Personality is a fact. It is a fact that personal relationships are empty and superficial without love and trust. The Supreme Personality is as logical an extension of our personalities to me as the big bang is to the the material universe.

Such faith, love and trust in a Supreme Loving Parent adds purposeful nobility and an equality of potential eternal existence to each human life, which makes all people truly equal no matter what their human status, and provides the ultimate basis for a harmonious and peaceful civilization here on earth.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 03:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Such faith, love and trust in a Supreme Loving Parent adds purposeful nobility and an equality of potential eternal existence to each human life, which makes all people truly equal no matter what their human status, and provides the ultimate basis for a harmonious and peaceful civilization here on earth.

Try to look at this another way.  You can absolutely arrive at the same position of love and trust without resorting to the supernatural in any way.  Your supreme loving parent has proven itself totally untrustworthy over the centuries, wouldn’t you agree?  If not, how has it proven to be trustworthy in any way, shape or form?

Realizing, as I do, that all of the inhabitants of this planet, all species not just ourselves, are strongly connected by our common decent.  This undoubtable fact, once fully realized, opens ones mind and heart to fully appreciate this remarkable universe, and our own little part in the biological symphony.

To me, this loving parent stuff is far too limiting, and eventually leads many believers, if they think about it, to resentment when holy parent appears to act in an untrustworthy manner.

The main problem I have with christians is their extreme “self vs. other” mentality.  This can only be the result of their insistence upon this father image, and their feelings of alienation towards those of us who recognize no parent figure, or even those who recognize a (slightly) different parent.

Christians are not alone in this, all religions are guilty of it.  Just look at Iraq right now.  One side sees the other as something less than human, as did christians during the middle ages.

This self and other mentality is not part of my thinking.  I see you as a fellow human, just a misguided one.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 06:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“hampsteadpete”] Try to look at this another way.  You can absolutely arrive at the same position of love and trust without resorting to the supernatural in any way.  Your supreme loving parent has proven itself totally untrustworthy over the centuries, wouldn’t you agree?  If not, how has it proven to be trustworthy in any way, shape or form?

But some of us believers, as individuals, think that, based upon our experience, the “supreme loving parent” has communicated with us in some way, which is the basis for our faith.  To us, this parent has not proved himself unworthy.  So if that is our experience, I think we are justified in continuing to see this love and trust in a personal way, i.e., God, even though it makes no sense to you.

Realizing, as I do, that all of the inhabitants of this planet, all species not just ourselves, are strongly connected by our common decent.  This undoubtable fact, once fully realized, opens ones mind and heart to fully appreciate this remarkable universe, and our own little part in the biological symphony.

And I assert that it is possible for believers and non-believers to have this sense of strong connectedness, even though we see the cause of it all in a different way. 

To me, this loving parent stuff is far too limiting, and eventually leads many believers, if they think about it, to resentment when holy parent appears to act in an untrustworthy manner.

If that is the experience of believers, then they may very well end up on your team.  If not, they will stay believers.

The main problem I have with christians is their extreme “self vs. other” mentality.  This can only be the result of their insistence upon this father image, and their feelings of alienation towards those of us who recognize no parent figure, or even those who recognize a (slightly) different parent.

My brother basically hated my father, while I didn’t. He is still my brother, and I love him. Same goes for my feeling toward atheists.  I don’t feel very alienated, and am feeling less so every day.  That is one reason why it is important for world survival for people to talk to each other.

While I may be considered as something of a Judas by some of my fellow believers, it is my opinion that Christians IN THEIR CAPACITY AS CHRISTIANS should withdraw from the political and scientific arenas.  By this I do not mean that they should not vote or hold office or hold jobs in scientific fields, but that they should not try to impose Christian concepts on others in those areas.  Let science do what science does, and don’t try to put any limitations on it based upon (in my view, flawed) interpretations of scripture.  And don’t invite politicians (on the right or left) to speak at your churches - churches or religious organizations that do should lose their tax exemptions.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”] While I may be considered as something of a Judas by some of my fellow believers, it is my opinion that Christians IN THEIR CAPACITY AS CHRISTIANS should withdraw from the political and scientific arenas.  By this I do not mean that they should not vote or hold office or hold jobs in scientific fields, but that they should not try to impose Christian concepts on others in those areas.  Let science do what science does, and don’t try to put any limitations on it based upon (in my view, flawed) interpretations of scripture.  And don’t invite politicians (on the right or left) to speak at your churches - churches or religious organizations that do should lose their tax exemptions.

I am sure many other Christians believe the same way. I don’t think they would consider you a Judas, either. Although, it is a different approach and many may have trouble wrapping their minds around the idea. Nevertheless, we would have less political division and maybe things would start happening. You want to see a governmental transformation take place, implement a policy with the ideas stated here.  Others that believe the same way should speak up more about this.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 08:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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[quote author=“andonstop”]Eloquent once again, snapshot1. “We have to learn to love and accept the mysteries of the Universe…” —beautiful. “We have to let go of the irrational dogmas that hinder our exploration…”—I agree completely. “...by filling the unknown gaps with faith and wishful thinking…”—to me reveals a lack of understanding and appreciation for the true nature of faith.

It seems you determine faith can only be based on fear, impatience or wishful thinking. I agree much of today’s “religion” is based on just that. But in my mind you have left out the two reasons which to me are altogether logical: love and trust.

Love is a fact. Trust is a fact. Personality is a fact. It is a fact that personal relationships are empty and superficial without love and trust. The Supreme Personality is as logical an extension of our personalities to me as the big bang is to the the material universe.

I was agreeing with you up until this last point that you made. We are a logical, rational extension of the outcome of the Big Bang. We are perfectly natural in that our existence does not violate the laws of the Universe. There is just no reason for me to accept what you call this “Supreme Personality.” As far as I can tell, we are not a logical extension of any personality, Supreme or otherwise. Even if we commit ourselves to the laws of this Universe alone and neglect the rest of possible existence for the time being, we conclude that complexity can and does arise from simplicity. We have no reason to suggest that the cause of the Big Bang wasn’t very simple, nor do we have any evidence to suggest anything beyond that hypothesis. Past experience tells us that simplicity births complexity on the grandest of scales, so the evidence is pointing toward, but not definitively concluding at all, that the cause of the creation of are Universe came from simple origins. This hypothesis could be completely wrong, but there is no reason to doubt it is not the best interpretation of the available data that we have.

Such faith, love and trust in a Supreme Loving Parent adds purposeful nobility and an equality of potential eternal existence to each human life, which makes all people truly equal no matter what their human status, and provides the ultimate basis for a harmonious and peaceful civilization here on earth.

There’s nothing to suggest that having faith, love, and trust in an imaginary “Supreme Loving Parent” wouldn’t have the exact same effect on our sense of purpose and value as having those same feelings and beliefs toward an existent “Supreme Loving Parent. This goes back to the usefulness of religion. We already have good reasons to be a peaceful civilization which cherishes human life and gives value to living things that suffer—this excludes plant life, bacteria, insects, etc. We have the will and the reason to actively reduce suffering in this world.

It should be well-known that a reduction of suffering will only likely render positive outcomes. We don’t need to be believe in God to have good reasons to be good or lead a fulfilling life, nor do we need to delude ourselves to feel purpose and meaning in this world.

If a scientific study came out tomorrow that said humans can’t be happy unless we are deluded, would that make you more inclined or less inclined to believe in God? Or would you feel the same? It, for me, would hopefully not change the way I search for the truth.

I know the truth will not always make me happy, but I don’t think I’d like to forgo knowledge so that I may live a blissfully ignorant life. I’m afraid I’ve seen too much of the light to want to cover my eyes and ignore the truths that I don’t want to believe in. For these reasons, I try be as skeptical as possible about the things I want to believe are true. Perhaps contrary to prior belief, I really hope God exists. But I won’t set different standards of credulity for accepting these claims. If I want the most accurate version of reality, I have to maintain a rigorous skepticism so I don’t fall into the natural trap of being drawn into believing those things that I really wish were true.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 01:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
While I may be considered as something of a Judas by some of my fellow believers, it is my opinion that Christians IN THEIR CAPACITY AS CHRISTIANS should withdraw from the political and scientific arenas.  By this I do not mean that they should not vote or hold office or hold jobs in scientific fields, but that they should not try to impose Christian concepts on others in those areas.  Let science do what science does, and don’t try to put any limitations on it based upon (in my view, flawed) interpretations of scripture.  And don’t invite politicians (on the right or left) to speak at your churches - churches or religious organizations that do should lose their tax exemptions.

Amazing, a Christian that actually gets it.

Thou shall keep thy religion to thyself.
Thou shall keep thy religion out of MY government.

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“We have it recorded in a book called the Bible.”

To be blunt, the Bible records all manner of silly shit.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“dlsmith”][quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
While I may be considered as something of a Judas by some of my fellow believers, it is my opinion that Christians IN THEIR CAPACITY AS CHRISTIANS should withdraw from the political and scientific arenas.  By this I do not mean that they should not vote or hold office or hold jobs in scientific fields, but that they should not try to impose Christian concepts on others in those areas.  Let science do what science does, and don’t try to put any limitations on it based upon (in my view, flawed) interpretations of scripture.  And don’t invite politicians (on the right or left) to speak at your churches - churches or religious organizations that do should lose their tax exemptions.

Amazing, a Christian that actually gets it.

Thou shall keep thy religion to thyself.
Thou shall keep thy religion out of MY government.

You can separate church and state, but you can’t separate religion and politics.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 09:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”]
You can separate church and state, but you can’t separate religion and politics.

Snapshot1 makes an excellent point here. It’s easy enough to prevent the president from declaring all work on Sundays illegal due to the sabbath, but what about things like stem cell research?

If you thought it was wrong to use embryos to save millions of born, sentient, truly living humans simply because you thought the 150 cells that composed embryos were imbued with a “soul”, would you vote for a politician that fervently supported stem cell research? Of course not. We vote for politicians who will represent our beliefs on issues we feel most relevant. World changing scientific endeavors are shot down precisely because religion and politics are intertwined.

[quote author=“Bruce Burleson”]
While I may be considered as something of a Judas by some of my fellow believers, it is my opinion that Christians IN THEIR CAPACITY AS CHRISTIANS should withdraw from the political and scientific arenas. By this I do not mean that they should not vote or hold office or hold jobs in scientific fields, but that they should not try to impose Christian concepts on others in those areas. Let science do what science does, and don’t try to put any limitations on it based upon (in my view, flawed) interpretations of scripture. And don’t invite politicians (on the right or left) to speak at your churches - churches or religious organizations that do should lose their tax exemptions.

Bruce Burleson, I believe what you are saying is that you don’t want people pushing bills based on what their priest told them or because of what they read in whatever holy book they follow. You don’t think they should push for ID in schools or campaign to post the 10 commandments in front of every courthouse. This is a good start, and I think you have very much the right spirit. However, religion affects peoples core beliefs about how the world works, without any tangible evidence for doing so. This means politicians who represent them will continue to push bills and make decisions while considering beliefs that have no evidence for them, and these decisions and laws will apply to everyone, even those that don’t believe in god and religion.

Simply by holding religious beliefs, you will vote for candidates that will reflect them, and thus are imposing them on everyone. It’s majority rule, and when the majority (Christians in the US) doesn’t care to look for evidence or follow any sort of truly rational and scientific dialog on certain issues, then misinformed decisions and policies are made - ones that grip suffering humans tightly, keeping them in pain, even as science attempts to pull them away.

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Posted: 23 March 2007 01:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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[quote author=“snapshot1”]I know the truth will not always make me happy, but I don’t think I’d like to forgo knowledge so that I may live a blissfully ignorant life. I’m afraid I’ve seen too much of the light to want to cover my eyes and ignore the truths that I don’t want to believe in. For these reasons, I try be as skeptical as possible about the things I want to believe are true. Perhaps contrary to prior belief, I really hope God exists. But I won’t set different standards of credulity for accepting these claims. If I want the most accurate version of reality, I have to maintain a rigorous skepticism so I don’t fall into the natural trap of being drawn into believing those things that I really wish were true.

A noble manner of living. I think you are living proof that one can lead a rich, exemplary and gracious life on earth without faith in God. For me personally, and I think this is something which is true for most people to some degree, there was a sense (a skepticism?) that something was missing from a purely evidential material approach to living. When I finally did reach the conclusion that there was indeed something more, it was like, “a-a-ah, so that’s it. Now to get on with living.”

I trust that we are no more capable of fully comprehending God than we are of comprehending the vastness of the universe. For me it is a relationship more of wordless understanding than of conversation, as impossible to describe as how something tastes; to be understood, it must be experienced. All I know is I went from thinking faith in God was quaint to thinking not having faith in God was quaint.

I still think those who profess to accept unreasonable “religious” creeds and doctrines are at best being intellectually dishonest with themselves. I continue to struggle with the word “worship” as a relationship with God, as it invokes too many images of groveling and subservience. I would call it more of a respectful, dignified and loyal appreciation for another caring being, not unlike the manner which you display in your agreeable disagreements with me.

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